In August of 2017, the world focused its attention on Charlottesville, Virginia as a protest formed due to rising controversy regarding confederate monuments. The Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis, and supporters of the First Amendmenr went head-to-head with local protestors andorganizations like Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other activist groups.
Two days later, the chaos made its way to Durham. Civilians, community leaders, and organizers were seen protesting the events that occured in Charlottesville.
Making national headlines, people were seen vandalizing, defacing, and eventually pulling down a Confederate monument in front of a downtown Durham judiciary building.
Since the 2017 presidental inauguration, tensions between political and social issues have been high. The specific issue of Confederate monuments has become a big problem for many. Some would say that Confederate monuments are just statues with no current meaning; others believe they represent something bigger than a statue.
A few realistic solutions to Durham’s Confederate monument fiasco include putting it back up, getting rid of it altogether, or relocating it. Some individuals feel that having Confederate statues anywhere could be a reminder of white supremacy and a form of oppression. Having nothing in these public spaces may be better than having a monument or statue. Others believe the monuments are an important piece of Durham and North Carolina’s history and removing them would be erasing history.
The best option for Durham right now would be preserving the monuments in non-public spaces like parks and in front of state buildings, which could subdue some of the conflict. Museums like Durham’s History Hub, located within walking distance of the monument’s original spot, could space for these monuments.
Whatever side you’re on, we all can agree that there is a huge political and social issue that needs to be addressed. The symbol of the Confederacy in monuments, statues, and public displays have caused people to question if we have really made progress as a nation.
Confederate monuments have caused problems are over the country, and some of those problems are lingering in our local community. That’s why, at this moment, Durham should move the monuments away from the public eye.